Preparing eggs in the basic ways can get boring, so I was pleased to find a hundred-year-old recipe for Eggs with Spinach and Cheese. Each egg is served in an individual ramekin which makes an easy to serve, lovely presentation that can turn any breakfast into a special meal. The eggs are embedded between layers of creamed spinach and cheese.
Here is the original recipe:
I’m not sure what a “very moderate” oven meant in 1920, but I interpreted it to mean 350° F. Maybe it actually was higher. The 5-8 minutes baking time called for in the original recipe was not nearly long enough to set the eggs. It took about 15 minutes for them to set.
5 ounces (5 cups) of fresh baby spinach (approximately 1/2 cup cooked spinach)
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used cheddar.)
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350° F. Wash spinach and put in a sauce pan. There should be some water clinging to the spinach. Using medium heat, cook until the spinach has wilted down (about 2 minutes) while stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.
In the meantime, in another pan, using medium heat, melt butter; then stir in the flour and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Gradually, add milk while stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the white sauce thickens. Remove from heat, and add the cooked spinach. Stir to combine.
Put 1/6 of the spinach and white sauce mixture in each of 3 small ramekins; then sprinkle with 1/6 of the shredded cheese. Then break an egg into each of the ramekins. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put 1/6 of the spinach and cream sauce mixture on top of each egg; then sprinkle with 1/6 of the shredded cheese on top of it.
Put in oven and cook for 15 – 18 minutes, or until the eggs are set.
Now that we’re in 2020, I’ve set aside the 1919 cookbooks and magazines that I got recipes from last year, and have been gathering 1920 cookbooks and magazines. (EBay is wonderful source of old cookbooks.) As I shift to 1920, I am really enjoying browsing through a whole “new” set of old recipes.
One recipe that piqued my interest was a recipe for Mushroom Croquettes. The coquettes are made by combining mashed potatoes, and chopped mushrooms. They are then browned in a skillet.
The Mushroom Croquettes were crispy on the outside, and filled with a delectable creamy mashed potato and mushroom mixture on the inside.
vegetable oil (shortening or lard would also work)
Mashed potatoes should be at room temperature when making this recipe. Either allow hot mashed potatoes to cool, or remove cold mashed potatoes from refrigerator and allow to warm to room temperature.
In the meantime, chop the mushrooms into small pieces. There should be approximately two cups of chopped mushrooms. Melt butter in a skillet, then add the chopped mushrooms. Sauté for 20 minutes while stirring occasionally. Then remove from heat.
Place the mashed potatoes into a mixing bowl, stir in the salt and eggs; then add sautéed mushrooms and stir until the mushrooms are evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
Heat about 1/2 inch of vegetable oil in a large skillet. Then drop heaping spoonfuls of the mushroom and potato mixture into the hot oil. Cook until lightly browned on the bottom, then gently turn to brown the other side. When browned, remove croquettes from the skillet with a fork or slotted spoon. Drain the croquettes on paper towels, then serve.
Sausage and apples are a classic combination, so I was thrilled when I came across a hundred-year-old recipe for Sausage and Apple Slices. It is a simple recipe that brings out the best of both foods.
Old-fashioned classic peppery sausage links such as country sausage, farmer’s sausage, or breakfast sausage work well in this recipe. And, the apples are cooked in a simple sugar syrup which enhances their natural tart-sweetness.
I can’t decide whether this dish was originally intended to be a breakfast or dinner dish. I served it at dinner, but it would work well for either meal.
1 pound sausage links (This is excellent with old-fashioned peppery sausage such as country sausage, farmer’s sausage, or breakfast sausage.)
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
4-5 tart apples which hold their shape when cooked (I used Braeburn apples; Rome or Granny Smith would also work well.)
Prick each sausage link several times with a fork. Put in a large saucepan, and cover with water; bring to boil using high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and drain. While cooking sausage, preheat oven to 400° F. Put sausage links in an oven-proof skillet (I used a cast iron skillet), place in oven and brown (about 10 – 20 minutes). The sausage should be turned several times so that they brown evenly.
In the meantime, peel and core apples, then cut into slices about 1/3 inch thick. Put the sugar and water in a large saucepan. Heat the mixture using medium heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the apple slices. When the liquid comes to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the apple slices are soft. Using a large spoon, gently rearrange the slices once or twice, so that they all soften at about the same time. Remove from the heat, and gently remove the slices from the syrup.
To serve, arrange links on plates, and place apple slices to the side.
I always try to make a wide variety of holiday cookies, including a gluten-free option. Meringue cookies are a personal favorite, so I was pleased to find a hundred-year-old recipe for Mock Maple Kisses. They are a light and airy meringue cookie. When I bite into them, they take me back to a summer evening, and remind of marshmallows delicately toasted over a campfire.
Here is the original recipe:
I found this recipe to be a little challenging. Since very little liquid is called for, the boiled brown sugar mixture quickly moves past the “thread’ stage to the “soft ball” stage. I added a little additional water to get the temperature and stage right. But, the meringues ended up not having the classic “kiss” shape.
Put sugar, water, and vanilla in a sauce pan; stir, and then using medium-low heat, bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and cook until the mixture reaches the “thread” stage (223° – 234° F.). Since there is very little liquid, the mixture will reach this stage very quickly after it comes to a boil. A little additional water may need to be added if the mixture inadvertently moves beyond the “thread” stage.) Remove from heat.
In the meantime, preheat oven to 250° F. Put the egg white into a mixing bowl and beat with an electric beater until stiff peaks form. Slowly add the sugar sauce, one tablespoon at a time, while continuing to beat. Drop by rounded teaspoons two inches apart on greased baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the kisses can easily be removed from the parchment paper.
Cut-out cookies are so much fun to make, and it’s a wonderful family activity, so I’m always on the look-out for hundred-year-old recipes for cut-out cookies. I recently found a wonderful recipe in a 1919 magazine for Lemon Star Cookies. The frosted cookies are sprinkled with chopped walnuts, and have a delicate lemon flavor.
I used buttercream frosting, though other types of frosting could be used. Any type of walnuts would work well in this recipe, but I had some black walnuts so used them. The bold, richness of the black walnuts combined perfectly with the sweetness of the frosting and the lemon in the cookies. This cookie is a winner – whether the cookies are cut into stars or some other shape.
Here’s photo of the cookies in the old magazine:
All was good. The cookies tasted wonderful, and they looked similar to the photo of Lemon Star Cookies in the old magazine. Then the Saturday newspaper arrived on my doorstep. There was a beautiful feature showing how to make decorated cut-out cookies. It included directions for making royal icing, piping the icing to make an outline around the edge of the cookie, and then “flooding” the cookie with additional icing.
I suddenly realized that my cookies weren’t as awesome and picture-perfect as I’d thought a few minutes earlier. That said, the buttercream frosting I smeared on the top of the cookies with a knife is probably very similar to what cooks did a hundred years ago – so I keep telling myself that at least my cookies are authentic even if they aren’t Instagram perfect.
2 cups pastry flour (all-purpose flour can be substituted)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon lemon extract
white frosting (I used buttercream frosting.)
chopped walnuts (I used black walnuts, but the typical walnuts that are sold in stores also would work well.)
Preheat oven to 400° F. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter (or margarine) together. Stir in the eggs, then add the flour, baking powder, salt and lemon extract. Stir until well-mixed. Refrigerate dough 1/2 hour or until chilled.
On well-floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into shapes using a star cookie cutter (or use other shaped cutters, if preferred). Place on greased baking sheets. Bake 9-11 minutes or until lightly browned.
Remove from oven, and cool on wire racks. Ice the cookies with the frosting, and then sprinkle chopped walnuts in the center of each cookie.
It just isn’t Thanksgiving without Cranberry Sauce. Some years I make the whole berry sauce recipe printed on the bags of fresh cranberries; other years I grit my teeth and buy a can of jellied canned sauce. But, I have vague food memories a wonderful smooth homemade Cranberry Sauce that was served at Thanksgiving gatherings when I was a small child.
So, I was thrilled to find a classic smooth Cranberry Sauce recipe in a hundred-year-old magazine. The Cranberry Sauce contained tiny bits of cranberries, and was a delightful blend of sweet and sour.
Wash cranberries, then place cranberries and water put in a saucepan. Bring to a boil on medium high heat. Stir in the baking soda, then reduce heat and simmer until the berries have softened and burst (5-7 minutes). Skim any froth that rises to the top while cooking. Remove from heat, and press through a sieve. (I used a Foley mill.) Place the pulp in a clean pan and stir in the sugar. (The berry skins should be discarded.) Cook until the mixture begins to boil while stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and put the cranberry sauce in the serving dish. Cool in refrigerator at least 3 hours before serving. Once the sauce is cooled, it should be covered to prevent a thick “skin” from forming on the top.
(Cook’s note: Today many cranberries are sold in 12 ounce bags – which is 3 cups of cranberries. If using one 12-ounce bag of cranberries, make three- fourths of this recipe. This would mean using a little less than 1/3 cup water, 3/8 teaspoon baking soda, and 1 1/2 cups sugar.)
I’m a traditionalist when it comes to stuffing, and I still use the bread stuffing recipe in my 1976 Betty CrockerCookbook. Betty Crocker calls for combining bread crumbs with lots of butter, minced onion and celery; and then seasoning with sage and thyme. That recipe is tasty – but this year I wanted to make an authentic hundred-year-old recipe, so was thrilled to find a Bread Stuffing recipe in a 1919 magazine.
The hundred-year-old recipe skips the onion and celery – and uses poultry seasoning instead of the individual spices that I usually use. It also calls for an egg that acts as a binder to help keep the stuffing from falling apart.
The seasoning for the old recipe was just right, and is perfect for those who want an authentic, old-fashioned bread stuffing recipe.
Note: This recipe makes enough stuffing to stuff a 2-3 pound chicken. Double recipe for a 5 – 6 pound chicken; quadruple for a 10-12 pound turkey.
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
2 cups soft bread crumbs (tear bread into 1-inch pieces)
1 egg, beaten
In a large bowl stir together, butter, salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. Add bread crumbs and egg; stir gently until thoroughly combined. Scoop stuffing into chicken or turkey body and neck cavities. Cook poultry thoroughly. Remove stuffing from poultry, and place in a bowl. Fluff with a spoon or fork, and then serve. May also be served cold.